Packing for a safari is unlike any other packing experience. Why so? A safari destination has drastically varying temperatures throughout the day, but you won’t be allowed to take much with you! In Tanzania, the weather forecast in August generally went like this: very chilly in the morning, scorching hot in the afternoon, chilly at night. I’d start in pants and a jacket, change to shorts and a tank top at mid day, and then back to pants for evening! Additionally, there are colors you can’t wear, some special gear is required, and there’s no local store around if you forget something. So with all that being said, it’s important to pack correctly and efficient; this African safari packing guide will steer you in the right direction.
The logical first question you may ask is, “Will my lodge have some of the basics, and what can I leave at home?” The answer: most likely your accommodation will have some basics, but even the top luxury places have limited inventory. Therefore, the best course of action is to prepare, but not overpack. There are very strict airline weight restrictions on luggage (15-20 kg). You will have to fly on a puddle jumper plane to the game reserve, and those planes simply can not accommodate the weight. Bottom line: If your bag is too heavy, it doesn’t come. Period.
The good news: you really don’t need much for a safari. You should plan to wash your clothes everyday. The general rule of thumb is to pack 3 re-wearable outfits (this worked well for a week long safari). Some lodges will wash your clothes for you, but if not, pack travel tide packets.
What clothing to bring on an African Safari
- General notes:
- NO BLACK OR BLUE CLOTHING- it attracts the tste-tste fly.
- Colors to wear: khaki, green, tan, brown (think camouflage)
- Take clothes that are lightweight, easy to wash, quick drying, durable.
- 1 light coat (something that folds easily is a must)
- 2 pairs of pants (something lightweight that becomes shorter or longer when needed)
- 1 capri length pants
- 2 pairs shorts
- 2 button down cardigans (layering is key)
- 2 tanks
- 1-2 long sleeved shirts
- 2 sports bras (ladies–your ladies will thank you).
- Underwear (enough for the whole week)
- Sneakers (ones that you’re okay dirtying up)
- Flip flops (for pool)
- 2 bathing suits
- 1 cover up
- 1 neutral colored scarf (I like this one)
- 1 safari hat (natural colors)
- 3 pairs of athletic socks
What gear to bring on Safari:
- Soft sided Duffle bag (not hard case luggage)
- Camera and lens (a good one!)
- Small camera bag
- Camera batteries and chargers
- Bug spray
Don’t forget these items on Safari!
- Your papers for visas and vaccines (Yellow Fever for Tanzania)
- Passports (and copies)
- Travel tide packets
- A small portable “CVS:”: tissues, advil, motion sickness medicine, flu or cold medicine, sore throat lozenges, emergency packets, nail file, nail clipper, nail polish remover, tweezers
- Comb/brush (small one to put in your safari bag)
- Cleanser/makeup remover (even if you don’t wear make-up on the trip, your face will be pretty dirty at the end of each day)
You won’t need these items on safari:
- Hair Dryers/straighteners/curling irons
- Make up (but if you are like me, you will probably take the basics anyways).
- Flashy jewelry
Want to learn more about planning an African safari?
Check out the Ultimate Tanzania Safari Guide, and my guest blog post, 25 Things to Know Before Booking an African Safari
I hope this article has inspired some ideas for your own African safari vacation. If you have any questions, or your own travel tips, please leave them in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to sign up for the monthly newsletter, packed with travel tips, upcoming news, and access to FREE destination itineraries.
Start gathering your future travel ideas now! Sign up to receive exclusive travel itineraries and tips.